The quack, Christopher Maloney, has left two comments on my blog. The first was a copy/paste of an open letter to PZ Myers… I’m not sure why he posted it on my blog. The second was this:
Wow, you are quick to condemn and slow to apologize. Haven’t you looked at PZ’s revisionist â€œoops, I burned the wrong guy. Oh well, carry on. The only thing worse that a thoughtless minion is a slow thoughtless minion. By the way, I have ample scientific data to refute you on my website under, you guessed it, “quackery.”
A noisy duck who just can’t seem to hide like a cockroach. Perhaps you could show me how?
Apologize? Sure. I’m sorry you’re a quack. The world has enough of them. I’m sorry the State of Maine’s standards are so low as to allow the undereducated to refer to themselves as doctors. And I’m sorry for the good citizens of Maine who see that title as an indication of someone they should trust rather than an empty appeal to authority that it is.
Maloney is whining above about not being the one that actually had Hawkins’ blog censored from WordPress. Personally, I don’t see how it matters. It was clearly because Hawkins called him a quack and not a doctor. Whether it was one of his co-quacks “in South Carolina” or himself really doesn’t matter. What matters is that quackery is seeking protection from the law from being exposed for what it truly is: pseudoscientific, quackery.
Which brings us to Maloney’s other comment above, which is that he has “ample scientific data to refute” me on his website. My core contention is that Christopher Maloney is not a doctor but a quack. So, let’s test that assertion.
What does it mean to be a doctor? “Doctor” is a short-hand way of saying you hold the highest degree of an academic university. Does Christopher Maloney? If you ask him, I’m sure he’d say so. And he’d probably believe it. He lists a “[f]our year medical degree from National College of Naturopathic Medicine” as his claim to fame for his “doctorate.” Sorry buddy, but a non-accredited (by any organization that isn’t simply being self-congratulatory) degree is hardly grounds for laying claim to a “doctorate” or being able to refer to yourself as “doctor.” Regardless, the appeal to the authority presumed in the title is one that is designed to deceive. He’s banking, quite literally, that when people think of “doctor” they’ll think of what they should: “physician.” He even states in his bio that “I occasionally prescribe pharmaceuticals” but this is another slight of hand. The law in Maine specifically prohibits “naturopathic doctors” from prescribing anything that you cannot already purchase over the counter. In otherwords, they cannot prescribe prescription drugs!
Also, they’re limited in scope as to what they may refer to themselves as. It would seem that, according to Main law, Maloney is, at the time of this writing, in violation. The list of things he may refer to himself as includes: “naturopathic doctor,” “naturopathic,” “naturopath,” “doctor of naturopathic medicine,” “doctor of naturopathy,” “naturopathic medicine,” “naturopathic health care,” “naturopathy” and the recognized abbreviation “N.D.” Use of the title “physician” by the licensee is prohibited.
No where does it say that Maloney or other quacks can use the title “doctor” by itself. Indeed, it must be followed by or preceeded by some form of the pseudo-term “naturopath.” Instead, he claims the honorific “doctor followed by his name. Only then does he include “naturopath” or “N.D.” In fact, he lists as a colleague, “Hagney Tim Naturopathic Physician,” who is even more clearly violating the law.
But this is all semantics. True doctors, the kind who actually obtain quality educations, and can call themselves “physicians” adhere to a code of ethics. One that requires that they employ evidence-based medical practices.
So what about Maloney and his “medical” claims?
On his site we can find, “Homeopathy provides a novel option for intervention with the added benefit of no drug interaction and minimal side effects.” He follows it up with an obscure Duke University study with a tiny sample size and questionable methodology. Like most quacks, he cherry-picks his data and makes no mention of the numerous studies of homeopathy that have shown it to be inefficable. Nor does he mention on that page that homeopathy amounts to just giving the patient water since the “active ingredient” is dilluted chemically to a point at which not a single molecule of it remains in the water.
In the article he wrote that I linked to in the previous post, Maloney is making a clear effort to scare people off from using evidence-based medicine -real medicine- in favor of elderberry and garlic. In his canned responses that he’s spamming the web with, Maloney is claiming that he only meant to provide an alternative in lieu of vaccines that weren’t available while “the kids were dying” in Maine. I’m betting a search of public records shows far fewer deaths of H1N1 among children than lightning strikes and bear attacks for the year he’s referring to. So this argument doesn’t hold up. Maloney was scaremongering and, to top it off, he’s now trying to appeal to the authority of medicine again.
So note the hypocrisy: he wants to be called a “doctor” because he knows physicians are important and smart people; and he now suggests that vaccines are a good idea, but his site and his writings are full of anti-vax propaganda.
Maloneymedical.com is a good exercise in observing pseudoscience. Maloney makes many anti-establishment, anti-medical claims and criticizes evidence-based medicine, but he’s quick to cherry-pick those medical results and data that might agree with his claims. In short, hypocrisy.
Sure. There’s some truth behind many of the methods “naturopaths” use. A healthy diet, for instance, is a good idea. I’m all about adding bioflavonoids to the diet. I like my resveratrol too. Preferably with a vintage of 2004 or 2005.
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- Christopher Maloney: still a quack (scienceblogs.com)
- Alt-Med proponent’s true colours shine through and it ain’t pretty (seantheblogonaut.com)
- Scott Gavura: Naturopathy a prescription for quackery (network.nationalpost.com)